Monday, August 9, 2010

Cape Optional: the ten must haves of a super parent

Anyone can be a super parent. Whether it's of a special needs child or a healthy one who is developing typically. Don't despair, mind you, if you think you come up short with one or more of these attributes. After all, we're human, not supernatural. We shouldn't expect to be perfect parents. Aspiring to be as good as you can is enough. As long as you try. So here we go, capes or no...

The list

1. Love. Can't quite be a super parent without it.

2. Compassion/Empathy. Being able to see a child's viewpoint from their situation helps a parent to react to their children in a more positive way. For example, that loud noise might not bother you, but may hurt a pair of super sensitive ears, therefore causing some behaviors in public.

3. Adaptabilityy. Having children changes your life, whether these children have special needs or not. We all have to adapt...some of us more than others.

4. A thick skin. This means not being over sensitive to what people might say about your child/children. Fortunately this skin is invisible and can be developed over time. A thick skin is especially important for those of us with children who have special needs. The more time that passes, the more likely you'll be to hear something painful from other people who do not understand. Try not to think of it, and focus on something more pleasant instead. After all, whose opinion is more important? Yours or theirs?

5. A super sense of humor. Being a parent means having a few or more not so great moments with one's child. It's better to laugh than cry. I once took a knee in dog poo trying to help my child. It wasn't funny then, but can laugh about it now.

6. Accountability. No matter what they do, we have to be accountable for our children. This means not making excuses, but taking action and responsibility for your child. Me to a school principal: "Yes, I know [leaving this part out for privacy purposes] is not acceptable behavior. He does have autism and doesn't understand the consequences of such actions, but we don't condone that type of behavior in any way. We'll work on it."

7. Patience. I think all children can test a parent's patience. Some of us are born with more patience than others. It's possible that this might be the hardest skill to attain/maintain.
We're all human and have our breaking points, but if you want to be a great parent, patience is probably one of the most important skills to have.

8. Organization. This skill can be a great asset to any super parent. I envy those who were born blessed with this skill. I'm still learning, but we'd miss a bunch of doctor appointments if I didn't have somewhat of a system. Fortunately keeping a calendar helps. Now if this "super parent" could be even more super by being able to make up and maintain a visual schedule for her child at home....sigh.

9. Ability to solve most problems. Sometimes when you solve one problem involving a child, another pops right up. Problems, especially problems with children with special needs, seem to pop up like weeds, so it helps to have the ability to solve them.

10. A good pair of feet clad with running shoes! These can come in handy when a small child or a child with special needs takes "flight."

Note: If you have all these skills, then kudos to you. However, as I said, don't despair if you come up a bit short. I don't believe in the perfect parent phenomenom. Any one can aspire to be a super parent if they try. The bright side is that if you have at least six of these, you are more than halfway there into becoming a super parent...or maybe even further than that if you have skills not mentioned here.

This list is just a starting point...

What other skills can be attributed to super parents? Let me know! : )


Casdok said...

I could teach Sherlock Holmes a thing or two in super powers of deduction and eye for detail.

My super radar hearing and sense of smell are finely tuned.

I have developed an inventive approach and super creative ideas for day to day things.

And I don’t sweat the small stuff!

Julie L. said...

Loved this comment. Those are some very good additions to the list.

Yes, you definitely have those attributes and more... one of the most super of super parents...C is so lucky to have you. : )

Stephanie M. said...

Wonderful post, Julie! C1 is blessed to have you for a mom. :-) (C2, too, of course!)

Microsoft MCSE Training Courses said...

you've discussed 10 essential features of good parent. I want to include another point i.e. Sacrifice. you've to sacrifice lot of things to be a good parent.

@**&%$ said...

Love it!!!! I have two boys that are special needs boys found these are essential power, would have a cape but c1 thinks it's too spicey

The Mom said...

Great list. I'm sure those of us all paddling together in this boat could probably come up with a top 20 list!

My last thought in the evening is always, "Tomorrow is another day!" said with a perfect Scarlett O'Hara accent.